It is a great week for technology as two tech giants reach the I Billion users mark. Google announced that Gmail, its email service had 1 billion monthly active users. Gmail joined the list of other Google platforms that have also gathered 1 billion users namely, Google Search, Android, Chrome, YouTube et.al. Gmail had hit the 900,000 user mark sometime before May 2015.
This was followed by Facebook’s announcement that WhatsApp had reached the 1 billion mark. This meant that the WhatsApp figures had more than doubled since Facebook acquired it two years ago. The announcement came after WhatsApp announced that it would be made completely free and remain ad free. An overjoyed Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to share his joy in a post that read:
WhatsApp’s community has more than doubled since joining Facebook. We’ve added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We’ve dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we’re going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses.
There are only a few services that connect more than a billion people. This milestone is an important step towards connecting the entire world.”
The two apps will join the ranks of Facebook’s 1.59 billion monthly active users as well as Google’s other 1 billion or more MAU services: Google search, Chrome (running on both mobile and desktop devices), Google Maps, YouTube, Google’s Android and therefore also Google Play. Gmail though launched in 2004, took much longer to hit 1 billion users target.
Facebook’s main services account for more than a billion users as well. The Messenger which has itself gone through major evolutions including going solo is also inching closer to the 1 billion user milestone as well. Facebook mentioned this at last week’s earnings call.
WhatsApp on the other hand is attractive for users in both developed and developing worlds, and is available on almost every platform be it android, Microsoft or apple stores and comes pre-installed on many feature phones used across the developing world, where smartphone penetration is still low.
The growth of WhatsApp has been credited to its simplicity and the lack of pestering ads. You can read more about this here on the Verge